Understanding science is pivotal to tackling any big problem, but it isn't always effectively explained. The Northern Australia Climate Program (NACP) is aiming to address those communication breakdowns inside the red meat industry, holding climate science workshops with producers in northern Australia.
The NACP is a partnership between the University of Southern Queensland, Queensland Government and Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company.
The communication taskforce held a workshop in Malanda, on 29 March, providing producers more clarity on how to use climate forecasts.
Dr Chelsea Jarvis, a climatologist from the University's Centre for Applied Climate Sciences led the event. Dr Jarvis recommended producers take a "prepare for the worst, and hope for the best" approach to weather forecasts.
"One of the main recommendations from the workshop is to pay more attention to forecasts for dry conditions rather than wet conditions," Dr Jarvis said.
"If you plan for dry conditions and it rains, you're happy. However, if you plan for rain and don't get it, you can end up with little pasture and too many cattle."
Dr Jarvis said producers only have a limited amount of time to spend looking at forecasts, so learning what forecasts to prioritise is a good solution.
Malanda workshop participant Anita Stoddart is a cattle producer with properties on the Tablelands.
"We can have the best wet season ever, but if it stops raining in March you can have problems getting your cattle through to the following wet season," she said.
"Learning about where to find and how to correctly interpret a seasonal forecast helps me know when I can expect the rains to stop.
Millaa Millaa producer Brigitte Dale said the event helped provide valuable knowledge when interoperating climate science.
"The event workshop helped me gain knowledge about weather and climate that I have always wanted to learn."
NACP will be featured at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries booth at Beef Week 2021, held in Rockhampton from 3-8 May 2021 and the 2021 Cape York Grazing Forum 18-19 May.